“Controls Frizz”, “Fights Flyaways”, “Battles Breakage”.
Sometimes the descriptions on the back of hair products sound like they’re trying to prepare us for war. While many of these products help us keep our hair looking and feeling healthy, the words we use to describe them make it sound like we’re entering into some sort of epic battle. When thinking about managing our hair, it’s easy to get sucked into this attitude of “girl versus her appearance,” where we primp and prep and try to eradicate our flaws with the latest and greatest beauty products.
While I was home over break, a family friend told me how, in her 30s, she stopped processing her hair. Cutting it short, she let it grow out naturally. Her story reminded me why I love to rock my curls. One thing that brings us all to this site is that we think our curly hair is pretty awesome, and we want to give it the best care we can.
However, there is an ever-present pressure to fit the current mold of what is attractive. When I was in middle school in 2001 and 2002, the trend was to have absolutely straight hair. During seventh and eighth grade, just as I was beginning to develop my own sense of style, the girls around me who were “trendsetters” all had pin-straight hair.
This experience makes me appreciate the incredible diversity of style and appearance that’s present on my college campus. I live in Risley, the creative and performing arts dorm, and several of the people I live with have brightly colored hair. In contrast to the long fuchsia hair of my hallmate, my curls look sedate on even the craziest hair days. After several years of high school — where conformity was the norm — I’ve gained confidence from living in a place where acceptance has replaced conformity.
When we seek to conform to some artificial standard, it’s easy to view our appearance as laden with imperfections that must be fixed. Perfection is impossible, and its pursuit can be exhausting. I’m not advocating abandoning any hair products with conflict-laden copy on the back; many of them lead to stronger, healthier hair. And that is a far more fulfilling goal than perfection.
Email your questions/comments to Julia.